Thursday, December 22, 2011
Updated: December 23, 10:42 AM ET
Nets acquire Mehmet Okur in trade
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
The New Jersey Nets acquired Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur for a 2015 second-round pick, the team announced Thursday night.
The trade comes just hours after the Nets announced that 23-year-old Brook Lopez had fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and will undergo surgery on Friday. Normally, it takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for that injury to heal, leaving a huge void for the Nets at center.
The 6-foot-11 Okur will make $10.8 million this season, in what is the final year of his contract.
The Nets are expected to make the signing of small forward DeShawn Stevenson official on Friday, general manager Billy King said. A league source told ESPNNewYork.com the Nets will use the $2.5 million "mini" mid-level exception to sign Stevenson to a one-year contract.
"Mehmet will give us added scoring and size," King said in a statement. "His ability to shoot the 3 will help space the floor."
Reserves Johan Petro and Shelden Williams can both play the position, but are not nearly as skilled as Okur, who will be united with former teammate Deron Williams.
Williams tweeted: "glad to be playing with my boy Memo again!!"
Utah had an abundance of big men. The Jazz drafted Enes Kanter No. 3 overall this summer and have watched former No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors blossom.
Thursday's deal also gives the Jazz a trade exception, which Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said will "allow us to go shopping."
Teams with a trade exception have up to a year in which they can acquire more salary in other trades than they send away.
O'Connor said that Utah used the trade exception it received by shipping Carlos Boozer to Chicago before last season to acquire Al Jefferson from Minnesota that same offseason.
It also means Utah may not be done dealing.
O'Connor, however, said he is happy with the team's big men.
"I feel like we're in pretty good shape, but we're going to miss Memo," O'Connor said.
"It's not easy. He was a professional. He played hurt. He did everything he was supposed to do. We appreciate all he did in the seven years he was here. Hopefully he can appreciate that seven years ago we were the ones who took a chance on him and stepped up."
O'Connor said he believes the 32-year-old Okur can play alongside Lopez when Lopez returns from injury.
"I think he went to a good situation," O'Connor said. "He's healthy and that's the important thing."
Okur, a native of Turkey, played only 13 games last season because of injur, but said he was 100 percent entering training camp.
Okur, a nine-year veteran, holds career averages of 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in 617 NBA games with Utah and the Detroit Pistons.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.